Test Drive: 2014 Lexus IS350 F Sport

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The Lexus IS350 F Sport is a wild contrast of the best and worst things you can find in a performance sedan. The new 2014 model is an impressive leap forward, putting it ahead of the new BMW 335i in terms of performance, interior and reliability. Unfortunately, the exterior styling and price turn me off.

Power

This car has a new suspension setup that compliments the power. The IS350 F has a v6 that delivers a silky 306hp. Could have more power? Sure. But honestly, 306 HP feels like plenty to throw the car around. The power is adequate, and more importantly, balanced.

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Handling

What can I say, this mid size sedan handles like a coupe. It feels like it’s on rails and is well planted to the asphalt. The car’s handling is on par with a BMW M3. Steering and overall feel is direct, precise and balanced. It’s a mid sized sedan that feels like a small Coupe. The car is nimble and responsive, yet very comfortable. The car gets better as you go faster.

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Comfort

The IS350 F Sport really shines in this department. I used to think that BMW made some of the best seats in the business, but Lexus has made a huge improvement in overall comfort. The seats are comfortable—the front two seats have nice side bolsters that huge your body from top to bottom—they feel almost custom fit. They’re that good. I also really-really like the new dashboard. They’ve pulled the styling cue from the LFA, and it just looks sexy. It’s got one of the most refined interiors for a car that’s under 50k. You feel special when you get in the driver’s seat.

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Style

So this is the part where everything goes sour. For some people, they don’t care about the exterior and want a luxury performance sedan. For the price, I expect better styling. I know that the designers tried something new and bold, but the car really looks like it was modeled off the Predator. Don’t get me wrong, I love that movie, but I’m not sure if I’d call this a beautiful car. The lines are excessive and the shape lacks continuity. For me, the exterior doesn’t do the interior and performance justice.

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Conclusion

The performance, handling and comfort of this car makes it a legit sports sedan. But damn, the styling and price makes the car hard to defend. When you pay that kind of money for a car, you expect some better styling. I’m not saying I want something conservative… but I definitely don’t want to drive a car that resembles the predator.

If you don’t care about the exterior and have deep pockets, this could be the car for you. Yes, people will probably judge your taste, but anyone who’s ever driven the new IS will know that it is the real deal. If you want something better looking, you may want to consider an Audi S4.